Energy risk officers recommend risk management standards for power, gas market participants

Utilities, power suppliers and regional organizations that coordinate the flow of electricity throughout the U.S. are taking steps to better understand the creditworthiness of market participants and ways to mitigate risks inherent in the purchase, supply and transmission of electric power. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 741 requires initial compliance filings by Independent System […]

Best chance for successful climate treaty: leadership by China or environmental emergency

As the next round of international negotiations about a possible climate change treaty — the 17th to be exact since the Kyoto Treaty was signed  in 1992 — get up to speed in Durban, South Africa, it’s becoming increasingly clear that an environmental emergency stands the best chance of compelling industrialized countries to act. That’s […]

Google isn’t the energy magician some hoped it would be; RE > C how much longer?

RE < C ? Not without a carbon tax or cap and trade system. Google’s decision to stop trying to make clean electricity less expensive than power from traditional “dirty” coal-fired power plants was destined to come up short. Congress’ unwillingness in 2009 to create a carbon cap and trade system made sure of that. […]

Solyndra is 1.4% of U.S. energy loan guarantee portfolio, program default rate is less than 4%

For all the energy challenges facing the U.S. and Congress’ unwillingness to tackle real problems, the Republican-led probe of the Solyndra loan and its grilling of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu Nov. 17 by the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation speaks volumes about its misplaced priorities. The $535 million Department of Energy […]

Boone Pickens vs. Koch brothers over U.S. natural gas legislation while oil reaches $100, again

Call it a coincidence but there are undeniable linkages. Crude oil has risen once again is flirting with $100 a barrel. Meanwhile, legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens is ratcheting up his push for legislation that would boost the development of U.S. shale natural gas reserves and deploy the cleanest burning fossil fuel to supplant products […]

Opinions very widely over efforts to explain shale gas drilling to landowners, lawmakers in U.S.

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Two-hundred and ten truck trips, 3-4 million gallons of water and noticeable degradation of rural roads. Those are typical metrics for a natural gas well that needs hydraulic fracturing to unleash embedded U.S. shale deposits deep underground. Together they can make for a very tough sell to area landowners, lawmakers and regulators. […]

Consumers deserve a LOT more information about smart grid functions, benefits — new research; are Republicans opposed?

New research out this morning for the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative affirms what what is needed for utilities, and their vendors, need to accomplish for smart grid applications to grow more quickly: educate, educate and educate some more. Here are the key findings, followed by selected top-line implications. The research, conducted by Market Strategies International […]

One way to prove smart grid benefits: assess power outages and how systems recover more quickly

Consumers, utility executives and regulators can debate the benefits of smart grid applications all they want. But proof is emerging that they can dramatically cut short power outages and even help save lives. It begs the question why these benefits are not more of the smart grid discussion. The speed and efficiency with which Vermont […]

Can shale natural gas producers self-regulate enough to avoid a major setback?

For all the attention focused on newly accessible natural gas supplies from U.S. shale deposits, one hopes the industry is up to regulating its operations enough to avoid a Three Mile Island-type accident in Pennsylvania that the U.S. nuclear power industry and utilities are still paying for 32 years later. With what significant new supplies […]

Even without the Keystone XL Pipeline, 350 ppm of carbon dioxide is no longer achievable

Here’s one slice of irony from today’s protest against TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline surrounding the White House: actually reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere from about 389 parts per million (ppm) currently to the widely-held threshold of 350 ppm is no longer possible. The combined impacts, to name a few, […]